A PIONEERING former newspaper editor who spent more than 30 years in the industry has died of lung cancer at the age of 72.
Peter Cavan Cooper passed away in Clyde House care home in Sedlescombe Road North last Tuesday (April 22).
Peter spent more than a decade working out of the old Observer building based in Cambridge Road and was a regular at the old Cambridge pub which stood next door.
He started his career as a trainee journalist at the Mid Sussex Times where he met his wife Ann.
He then joined the Sussex Express working as a reporter at the head office in Lewes before moving to Hailsham one of the paper’s seven district offices at the time. In 1971 he moved to Hastings after being appointed editor of the paper. Its owners Westminster Press were centralising the production of the Express and sister titles at the Cambridge Road offices.
In September 1977 Peter oversaw the launch of the first tabloid edition of the Express as it having been a broadsheet since 1837. He continued to edit the paper unil around 1985.
Rupert Taylor, current chief reporter of the Sussex Express, used to work as a trainee reporter under Peter’s editorship.
He said: “They were the best eight years of my career working in Lewes under Peter. He was great fun.“
One of Peter’s sons, Nick Cooper, said: “From the late 1980s onwards Dad played for various pub teams in St Leonards. I joined him from 1990 and we played for the Royal (near warrior Sq Station) and the Prince of Wales. There were leagues and weekly events. Dad was always the captain and particularly enjoyed beating the Civil service team who used to take their pencil cases to the quiz. He was an expert on all quiz subjects. Also in the early 90s Dad was a master on the quiz machines, regularly able to empty them. The landlord of the Albion once said to him he made his holiday money from the machine takings to which dad replied he also made his holiday money from the machines.”